4 Cultural traits you should know when managing Asian offshore teams
Managing and building rapport with your offshore teams can be quite challenging, especially when they share different values and belief. However, it should not prevent you from bridging the gaps between offshore and local teams to maintain harmony and achieve business goals. If you are currently delegating tasks or plan to build Asian offshore teams, let’s check out these 4 cultural traits to maximise your management.
Asian people prefer to work in their hometown in order to take care of their family. They also look for jobs with stability and suitable timeline where they can maintain “work-family” balance. That’s why multinational corporations now offer benefits covering staff’s family members (e.g. pregnancy support, insurance) as an incentive to recruit talented employees and retain them. This trait can sometimes bring negativity because family issues sometimes affect how staff perform at work and managers need to show empathy and help their Asian offshore teams get back on track fast.
Intentional Lack of Directness
Asian staff consider it rude to complain, criticise or even debate in front of other people. It is to save the self-esteem for each other and sustain harmony among co-workers. If you manage the Asian offshore team for the first time, it can be quite tricky to comprehend what your employees actually mean when they say yes, no or just simply nod in the meetings. The best strategy to deal with this trait is to build a friendly working environment and spend time forming mutual relationship so they are more confident to express their feelings and opinions.
Concepts of Time
Generally speaking, Asian people have flexible concepts of time where punctuality and immediacy aren’t that important. Asian people tend to think about time in cyclical rather than linear pattern as compared to Western countries. Managers need to consider this factor before setting a timeline, personnel and workload to make sure your teams are not lagging behind the schedule. However in saying that, there is always potential to train your staff to be timely and be conscious of deadlines. This all comes down to the culture in your business and the collaboration with your Asian offshore teams.
Tendency to holism
Upon starting any project, Asian employees love to adopt a holistic approach and aim at the final outcome. The cultural trait helps them overcome challenges along the way as they know what they want to reach in the end. As a manager, you have to devise testing procedures and collaboration to maximise this unique tendency and constantly remind your Asian offshore teams of details required to achieve the business goal.
At AS White Global, we understand cross-cultural management is not an easy task. In fact, our management teams have been working with dedication, in the past 5 years to help Australian corporations maintain productive working environment for their Asian offshore teams. If offshoring to Asian countries is on your business checklist in 2017, please contact us here.